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Freemasons in Buenos Aires: the germ of the revolution

How much did the Freemasons influence the success of the May Revolution? Who made up the lodge?

How much did the Freemasons influence the success of the May Revolution? Who made up the lodge?

During the first months of 1795, Buenos Aires witnessed a strange episode. Viceroy Arredondo, upset by the winds of freedom coming from Europe, questioned in his own house a man whom many called “the first revolutionary ”. In the years that had lasted Arredondo's term, the city grew noticeably. The old cobblestones of the streets near Balcarce and Defense ended up extending to the Customs. At last passers-by and carts could circulate in the area while it rained. In addition, internal security issues led the viceroy to wall the city of Montevideo. It also installed three surveillance fields in the port of Santa Fe. A progressive approach to the families of the Salado River, Cruz Alta, Arroyo del Monje, Barrancas, Bragado and Las Lomas allowed him to close certain very favorable agreements with the livestock industry. It was so well for him that he came to process a series of support programs from the Spanish crown in order to boost commercial activity.

But his intense management had a goal that went beyond common welfare. He sought to combat any kind of uprising and, taking advantage of the favorable conditions created by his government, took a series of legal measures prohibiting all kinds of suspicious meetings. That is, events where revolutionary groupscould infiltrate. Because he was the viceroy, he had the privilege of interrogating any suspect without consulting the sovereign of Spain, who at that time was Charles IV.

Surely, this resource made him dangerous for the incipient revolution in Buenos Aires. Some very particular characters landed in 1788 from Europe: the Freemasons. Arredondo met them in the battles he had waged for King Charles against France. Owner of such knowledge, he was immediately transferred to Buenos Aires. His term as viceroy began on December 4, 1789. The Spanish crown needed Arredondo in the Río de la Plata because in May of that year the Freemasons he had fought ended up burning the Bastille in Paris . A series of revolutions driven in Europe were undermining the power of nobility around the world.

Freemasonry had dark origins. It was a group that concealed their methods of entry, promotion and exit. It therefore greatly disturbed those who could not access it. The most interesting thing is that it emerged in the twelfth century as a guild. The former stonemasons and builders of Gothic cathedrals, for practical reasons, only opened the doors to their apprentices. In French, “maçon” means “mason”. Over time the training of these masons became more sophisticated and Freemasonry became not only a technical training space “where a career was made”, but also a school where universal subjects were discussed. After time, taking the character of Logia, it ended up becoming a refuge for great intellectuals and politicians. However, it was not until the 18th century that Freemasonry saw the emergence of the first revolutionaries of modernity. They were able to turn every corner of the world into a Bastille Taken. Every capital could burn like Paris. So powerful became the Freemasonsthat, thinking that the British crown could become a danger to the liberation of the New World, they financed American independence and defeated the English in the North Atlantic. Such a story was not sympathetic to the King of Spain, who had forbidden the Masonic thought of Montesquieu, Rosseau, Voltaire and Diderot in all the lands of the Viceroyalty. Somewhere in him, he imagined that Spain and Britain were the only strongholds capable of escaping the tentacles of that strange hidden power.

On Friday, January 2, 1795, in the port of Buenos Aires, Juan José Castelli and Nicolás Rodríguez Peña received the alleged Freemason whom Arredondo questioned at their home. He had a book hidden in his stuff . He left that book in Castelli's hands without looking him in the eye and went on long. It was at that moment, amid the port turmoil, that Arredondo's men kidnapped the <

Publication Date: 24/03/2019

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